how is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis?

How Is Behavior Therapy Different Than Psychoanalysis?

how is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis?

There are several different approaches to psychotherapy, and each method is helpful for people with specific symptoms.

Two contrasting approaches include psychoanalysis and behavior therapy.

On that note, how is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis?

The dissimilarity between psychoanalysis and behavior therapy is both simple and complex. 

First, the fundamental theory of psychoanalysis involves the examination of unconscious motivations, whereas behavior therapy aims to change behaviors rather than explore the unconscious directly.

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This post intends to shed more light on the crucial differences between psychoanalysis and behavior therapy.

What are the Major Differences between Psychoanalysis and Behavior Therapy?

Both psychoanalysis and behavior therapy have demonstrated impressive effectiveness when treating psychological problems such as:

Nonetheless, the successful treatments vary in various ways, as indicated below.

What Is Psychoanalysis- How Does It Work?

Psychoanalysis is a form of psychotherapy developed by a scientist known as Sigmund Freud. It involves the exploration of unconscious motivations and conflicts.

Several psychoanalysis techniques are used in the process, including:

  • Free association
  • Dream analysis
  • Interpretation of slips of the tongue

These techniques aim to bring repressed thoughts, feelings, and memories into the conscious mind. 

You may realize that this approach is different from behavior therapy because it focuses on unconscious impulses rather than outward behaviors.

The most well-known approach is Freudian psychoanalysis, which is a type of psychodynamic therapy. This is a form of psychotherapy that uses many techniques initially developed in psychoanalysis.

Other types of psychodynamic therapies include:

how is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis? Benefits of Psychoanalysis

Advantages of Psychoanalysis

How Is Behavior Therapy Different Than Psychoanalysis?

Behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to change behaviors rather than explore the unconscious directly.

The therapist works with the client to identify the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors causing them problems and teaches them different ways to behave. This type of therapy tends to be shorter in duration than psychoanalysis. 

Behavior therapy is more action-oriented than psychoanalysis, as the therapist works with the client to identify the behaviors that cause problems and teach the client new skills to use in those situations.

Types of mental health issues treated by behavior therapy include:

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There are various types of therapies in the fields of behavior modification and analysis.

Some of them include:

  • Behavior Modification Therapy

 The treatment aims to change maladaptive behaviors by rewarding positive behaviors and extinguishing negative behaviors.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis

 This is a more scientific outline of behavior modification that uses principles of learning theory. It systematically alters the environment and reinforcement contingencies to produce specific changes in target behaviors.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy- How does CBT Therapy Work?

 This is a form of treatment based on the principles of learning theory and applied behavior analysis used to treat recent, acute incidents as well as the disorders of everyday life.

Other types of behavior therapy are: 

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy [1*] was initially used to treat borderline personality disorder. Now, experts recommend it to treat other conditions such as bipolar disorder and substance abuse.

  • Schema-Focused Therapy

This therapy focuses on identifying and changing the dysfunctional beliefs and schemas that underlie maladaptive behaviors.

  • Family Systems Therapy

 The focal point of this treatment is on the interrelationships between family members and how these relationships affect individual behavior.

how is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis? Benefits of Behavioral Therapy

Advantages of Behavioral Therapy

What to Choose- Psychoanalysis Or Behavior Therapy?

Even with immense success associated with these therapies, there is no evidence indicating the most effective.

However, you can consider the following before making the final decision: 

  • Psychoanalysis explores unconscious motivations and conflicts. If you want to delve deeper into your unconscious thoughts and feelings, then go for psychoanalytic treatment.
    • The only challenge is that psychoanalysis is relatively expensive, while behavior therapy has an option of insurance coverage. If you have insurance, behavior therapy is often more affordable than psychoanalysis.
  • For patients eager to change their direct behavior, then behavior therapy is the real deal.
    • For instance, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), therapists focus on helping people to identify and challenge the thoughts and beliefs that keep them glued to their problems. That way, patients can change their behaviors directly and in a shorter duration compared to psychoanalysis. 
  • How long you want to spend in therapy is also a consideration. Psychoanalysis sessions can be long-term, while behavior therapy generally lasts for a shorter amount of time. 
  • Behavior therapy is more evidence-based and focuses on the present, while psychoanalysis explores the past.

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In the end, no matter what type of therapy you choose, the key is to be aware of your decisions and ensure you receive the best possible care.

Keep in mind that many factors affect someone’s decision when choosing psychoanalysis or behavior therapy.

Perhaps the best idea is to talk to your therapist about their approach, along with exploring your feelings and thoughts on the best treatment. 

You can never go wrong with competent mental health experts at EZCare Clinic based on the information above.

Schedule an appointment now and enjoy a lease of new life with improved mental health infinitely.


+1 sources
  1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. (2006)
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.